Lionsgate Definitely Still Planning Hunger Games Attractions for Dubai Amusement Park

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We’ve been keeping tabs on rumored plans for a Hunger Games theme park since 2013, with plans still rumbling well into last year. Now, we hear that it’s not a theme park that’s being planned at all, but a “Lionsgate Zone” that would contain attractions based on The Hunger Games franchise as well as other Lionsgate properties (like a live show based on the Step Up films) at an already-planned amusement park in Dubai called Motiongate Dubai (a property of Dubai Parks and Resorts), which is set to open in October 2016.

So, it’s not that there’s going to be a Hunger Games theme park a la The Wizarding World of Harry Potter; rather, it’s going to be a Lionsgate section of an amusement park that focuses on attractions based on their content.

Lionsgate CEO, Jon Feltheimer says:

Our franchises are continuing to drive location-based entertainment opportunities around the world. We’re proud to partner with the team at Dubai Parks and Resorts to create a thrilling total entertainment experience designed to attract millions of new fans and continue the global expansion of our brands.

And Dubai Parks and Resorts CEO Raed Al Nuaimi is equally thrilled:

Lionsgate’s Hunger Games, Step Up and other signature properties are the perfect centerpiece for one of the most visionary new theme parks in the world. Through this partnership we are offering even more for the whole family to enjoy on their visit and are confident that Motiongate Dubai will set a global benchmark as the ultimate movie-themed destination.

The Hunger Games is a tricky thing to market and adapt in this way, given that the entire backdrop of the story is class-based oppression and involves regularly killing children. I actually think that the upcoming live stage show in London could be one of the more successful attempts, in that it wouldn’t involve participation from the paying customers. But what would an amusement park attraction even look like?

While a Hunger Games amusement park attraction could very well be problematic, I don’t think that creating something worthwhile is impossible. After all, whenever I read any kind of a dystopian story, my first thought is always What would I do if I were in this situation? It’s natural to imagine oneself in a setting like that to see if we’d be able to handle it. That’s an important part of the experience, and it’s often the visceral reactions we have to that curiosity that lead us to thinking about the broader themes in the books and the real-life ramifications of that type of society. Deep down, I think a lot of Hunger Games fans want to know if they’d be able to handle a situation like the one in which Katniss finds herself. And yes, the reasons she’s put into that situation is horrible – but it’s also natural for a person to want to put themselves in a similar situation to see if they – like the protagonist they’ve come to care about – can make it through.

Hell, it’s why things like “Zombie Runs” are so popular. I mean, we shouldn’t think that’s fun. Like, at all. But we do – because deep down, all of us have given some thought to plans for a zombie apocalypse and whether or not we’d be the person that makes it to the end of the movie. We want to know that we can survive.

I don’t know what the Hunger Games amusement park attraction will be like. I have to imagine that participants would have to use a bow and arrow at some point, or maybe run around a lot. They might even have to compete against fellow participants in a (hopefully) non-lethal way. And of course, there’ll likely be a Capitol gift shop, where customers will be able to stock up on all sorts of Hunger Games merchandise. Whatever the attraction ends up being, I see it being hugely successful – and that’s okay. We can discuss the socio-political implications of Panem while reading the books. Amusement parks are where we can safely push our limits according to the rules of a fictional dystopia for a thrill, and few franchises are as right for that purpose as The Hunger Games.

However, I think the biggest mistake Lionsgate has made is making this deal in Dubai – a place where class-based oppression happens on the regular, and very often the expatriate workers building all of Dubai’s amusement parks and resorts are essentially slave labor. Creating a Hunger Games attraction isn’t an actual problem. However, “employing” people to create that attraction in a way that mirrors the fictional conditions needed to create a place like Panem in real life is.

So… what exactly are the workers building this attraction being paid, Lionsgate?

(via Variety)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.